The Grace Gathering ran parallel to the 2016 Churchwide Voting Assembly in New Orleans. The goal in gathering was to inspire one another to look back at the 500 years since the Reformation and see how to move forward in faith and love for the next 500 years. On August 11th a small group was planning to go out and serve near the Make it Right community in the Lower Ninth Ward, still rising from the ashes of the devastation since the levees failed. While, it proved to rainy to get to the land that needed cultivating, our host, Constance Fowler was gracious enough to show off local urban gardens and the Living History Museum. This proved to be a truly transformational outing, even though many were disappointed to not “get their hands dirty”. The service of bearing witness as an act of solidarity with those still impacted by systematic injustices is immeasurable.
The concept of Eco-Reformation was well considered throughout the event as seen in the Reformation Sourcebook Sampler given to every participant which included a section written by LRC founder, Rev. David Rhoads. Two workshops were offered and very well attended: one regarding the WHAT is and WHY we need an Eco-Reformation, and the other focused on the HOW TO engage in the ongoing eco-reformation progress.
Professor Richard Perry, Rev. Nancy Wright, Louis Tillman, Ruth Ivory-Moore and Phoebe Morad shared specific information about the history of the Creation Care movement in the ELCA, including how environmental racism parallels to civil rights injustices. To download, click: Professor Richard Perry’s pastoral response to environmental racism. If you believe a similar conversation would be appreciated in your community consider looking at our Speaker’s Bureau to see who is in your area.
Since there are so many members of our ELCA community who live in agricultural areas and we all depend on food to sustain us; let’s explore how we can deliberately share the spectrum of ways our churches can inform members of opportunities, practice mindful eating, and love the wide array of neighbors who help feed us.
- Incentives for farmers to take on sustainable practices.
- How can YOUR church start a Community Garden – ELCA World Hunger gathered inspiration and practical tools: in English (click) or Spanish (click).
- Bring your faith to the table and act our your care for our farming neighbors.
- Thoughts on mindful eating from Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Nicole Newell, from March 2020 Connections Call (starting at minute 16)
- How can soil health slow climate change?
- What does Hunger have to do with Climate Change?
- What are alternatives to industrial/corporate farming and what does it take? The Biggest Little Farm can offer a great youth group or adult education activity.
- Consider what our fellow church communities in rural areas face as farmers are increasingly stressed-(read here).
- Compared to the idealized image of a farm, how do these images reflect the difficult and risky labor that goes into feeding others? How can you take these images with you to make decisions at the grocery store or next time you pray before a meal?:
Back in the summer of 2018 hundreds of youth and group leaders visited our Lutherans Restoring Creation space in the Interactive Educational Area during the National Youth Gathering in Houston.
Every visitor was asked to spend about 5 minutes walking through a “tour” of their typical day and consider how their daily decisions impacted their global neighbors.
We don’t have to let it end there though! Get your youth group (or adult forum, or bible study, or family…) to read through the tour with pledge form in hand (or on screen) and find solutions in a prayerful way of living. If you use our online form we can stay on touch with you and let your synod leadership know what you’re aiming for.
The two most requested tools for Youth Groups to use as follow up to this discussion starter:
Story of Stuff 20 minute video. (Ask your group what challenges they have with their “golden arrow.”)